The race is on at Chichester harbour to try to save a beached whale. The RSPCA try to encourage one dog owner to clean up their act, and Tom Heap feeds a group of baby mice.
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Britain's animals are under threat.
All too often our wildlife and domestic pets
are the victims of cruelty,
persecution and neglect.
Fighting to save them is a dedicated band of people
trying to protect and care for them right around the clock.
This is Animal 24:7.
In the air, on land
and in the water, Britain is a haven for animals.
But when they come up against man,
their lives are often in danger.
From our cramped inner cities to our fields and hedgerows,
from the highest moorland to the coast and beyond,
Animal 24:7 is with the people working around the clock
to save endangered wildlife and protect vulnerable pets.
These are their stories.
Today on Animal 24:7, the pooches' playground
that's packed with danger.
Well, it was all clear, but it doesn't help with Lee's mates
-chucking cans out the window.
-No, it doesn't.
Cor, how much beer does he get through?
Free Billy, the race to save a beached whale.
We're extremely worried at the moment,
-because she's in the process of drowning.
She's on her side, blowhole is going in and out of the water.
And mice and easy. I need the gentle touch
to feed these tiny mouths.
-How often do you have to do this?
-We feed these about every hour.
-I just love his little hands gripping the end of the syringe.
First, owning a pet comes with great responsibility.
They need to be fed, watered and if you opt for man's best friend, they need exercising.
It's also important that the area they live and play in is safe
and hazard free, but all too often the RSPCA
come across people whose pets are being kept in dirty and dangerous conditions.
Meet Sandy, Sally...
and Titch, three dogs sharing their garden with a whole heap of junk.
For the pets, it's something of an adventure playground.
There's an old sofa to chew, some great vantage points and even a mattress for sunbathing.
But the dogs are blissfully unaware of the dangers posed by their home,
and so, it seems, are their owners.
RSPCA inspector Edwina Davidson wants to give some advice on how to make their garden more dog-friendly,
and it's not the first time she's been here.
The dogs are at home, though it seems their owners aren't.
But then Sam and partner Lee come round the corner.
Hiya! The RSPCA.
I've basically just had a call about the dogs, again, yeah, so if you don't mind, I thought,
"I know you anyway, I'll come and see how you're getting on."
If there's anything else I can do to help and what have you,
-then we can see. How are you managing with them? All right?
-Yeah. Be careful with Sally, Lee.
-Come on, then.
Come on, this way!
The dogs have fresh water, but like the garden, the kitchen's also hazardous.
Oh, yeah, there's a bit of glass round there, isn't there?
-Let's try and get them out the way.
-Titch! Lee, she wants them outside.
The dogs are clearly excitable, and left on their own, one of them has smashed a glass.
Yeah, shall we clean that little bit of glass up, then?
That's quite funny cos the call we've had is about the dogs being sometimes outside in the garden
with glass and sort of debris around. I know, I've come and there's a broken glass in the kitchen.
It's kind of weird timing. What you might need to just do, when you do go out, make sure there's nothing
-sort of tail height or...
-It's Sandy, she's like a kangaroo, she'll jump up.
-Like once we went out and left that open, and she managed to jump from down there,
-up there, through the window and out in the back garden.
I think it's just kind of damage limitation, isn't it?
Try and keep things out of the way that they could knock over and break.
-You can tell they're well looked after, they're all happy.
-Yeah. No, absolutely.
The happiness of these dogs isn't in question.
It's their environment that Edwina's worried about.
It's amazing they're all so healthy when you take a look at where they're playing.
Sam and Lee's discarded household objects
have created a place where a serious accident is waiting to happen.
In amongst the broken furniture lie sharp glass and metal that are a real danger
to Sally, Sandy and Titch.
-What you need to do is just have a bit of a clear-up out here.
There's stuff that they could cut themselves on, isn't there?
You know, bits of plastic, they could get their claws caught in, the wire rack, that kind of thing,
the empty cans - all of that stuff can cause them some problems and injuries.
She has got a little bit of blood on her claw, actually.
-I don't know whether that's...
-Come here a minute.
-Oh, is that...?
Oh, no, that's nail varnish, in fact.
Has she been painting her nails?!
That was the other day when she tried to eat it.
She obviously just likes painting her nails.
But it's not Titch that needs a makeover, the garden's in desperate need of a clear-up.
And it's not just about safety, it's about basic hygiene, too.
It's the environment bit that we need to change, OK?
It's just good practice to clear up if there's any dog poo lying around, yeah, just to keep that clear.
And you need to keep it free from hazards, so clearing up anything that can hurt them.
-Can the council clear it away or...?
-We're hoping to sort that out.
-The council are meant to clear it away, I've just got to sort my money.
-Yeah, OK, all right, OK.
Sam clearly loves her three dogs, so Edwina really doesn't want to take them away from her.
But this is a serious situation, and if things don't improve in the near future, she'll have no option
but to take things further.
What I'll say, then, if by the same date, by that Friday, 25th,
if you can have cleared up the bits you can do, yeah?
So any glass, cans, bits of plastic, anything like that that could cause them any injury.
Cos the sofa, they're not going to get hurt on that, or the mattress.
-Well, no, Sandy seems to sunbathe on both of them.
-She loves the sun.
-Fair enough. All right, fair enough. So any sharp debris, OK?
..or dangerous... CRASH!
They rule this place, don't they?
We know who's in charge.
Sam's taken on the advice and has promised to tidy up
but, before Edwina leaves, she's asked for some more help.
Sally has an old injury that seems to be causing some problems.
-The one she had most recently?
One of her legs, she had it broken...
-..when she was a pup. It keeps weeping, but it's not blood, it's like...gunge.
Well, if you can get her in on her own...
Sally is brought into the living room so Edwina can take a closer look at her leg.
We'll go through there. It's a bit lighter.
-Are you going on your bed?
Which leg is it? This front one here? Oh, I can see.
But it's like when she catches it, it weeps, and it kind of worries me.
Yeah, it is a bit wet there.
But that's quite well healed, isn't it? Scar tissue.
-Does she lick it? Is she sort of licking at it?
OK. Are you registered at the PDSA?
Not with this one, no.
Well, I would say that you should take her to the vet and have that checked out.
-Because while it looks like there is quite a nice bit of scar tissue there where it's healed over,
it is a little bit swollen, isn't it, in places? And if it is weeping, it might just be that she'll need
a little bit of antibiotic or something to clear it up.
Edwina advises Sam to register with a veterinary charity so Sally's leg can be examined free of charge.
-Brilliant, thank you very much, Sam, and I'll see you on or around the 25th.
-Yeah, that's fine.
The RSPCA always try to work with people to help them care for their pets,
but Sandy, Sally and Titch shouldn't have to live in this garden.
In a couple of weeks' time, Edwina will find out if they've got a safer place to play.
Still to come, double the danger, the risks for these playful pooches
just keeps on growing.
The things I was most concerned about has kind of got worse, really, hasn't it?
And open wide, the chirpy chicks enjoying their morning meal.
A bit like feeding my kids, got to share it all out fairly.
Whale sightings on the coast of Britain are rare, and sadly it can often mean the animal's in danger.
On the south coast, experts have spent the last day monitoring
a northern bottle-nosed whale that has somehow found its way into Chichester harbour.
The team have spent an anxious night hoping the whale would find its way back out to sea,
but the morning has brought them the news they were dreading.
Dawn over the normally picturesque Chichester harbour revealed this harrowing sight for rescuers.
The whale has beached on the mud flats.
It's still alive, so now the race is on to save it.
Could you alert your animal-rescue team that the whale at Hayling Island has stranded?
Trevor Weeks from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue is in charge of the operation.
His team have been keeping a close eye on the whale,
hoping it would swim back out to sea.
One of our land crews has found the animal.
It was here all day yesterday,
and we feared that this morning it was going to strand in the low tide,
and it has done,
so we are now mobilising all our crews to get out there and see what we can do to help the poor animal.
Thankfully, stranded whales are a rare occurrence,
but Trevor and his team are on standby 24 hours a day
to respond to marine emergencies, and they practise all the time.
Yeah, don't worry, I'm just going to come over and assess it first.
But today is for real.
You can just about see the whale on top of the mud flats here.
That's quite worrying, the fact that it's stranded that high up on the mud flats,
which means this animal probably stranded in the early hours
of this morning, so it's probably been beached for several hours, which is very worrying indeed.
So I just hope we can get it off there,
but the size of this animal is going to make our job very, very difficult.
If Trevor is going to save the whale, he needs as much information as possible.
-Has it been lifting its head at all?
-It was moving its head up slightly, breathing quite a lot.
He's briefed by marine medic Steve, who made the discovery.
And it's on its right-hand side, isn't it?
Yeah, and around it is about ten inches of water either...
-Well, I could only see the belly side, but it's about ten...
-Tail's on the go at the moment.
It's alive at the moment - it's moving its head and its tail,
so we need to get... Oh, dear! Poor thing.
He may be breathing, but this magnificent mammal is in a life-threatening position.
If he's not dug out within five hours,
his organs will be crushed under seven tonnes of his own weight.
We're parking in the Ship Inn car park, which is the northern end of the Langstone Bridge.
To make matters worse, the whale is stuck in deep mud and the tide is coming in.
Yeah, see you shortly. Cheers.
It's too dangerous for Trevor to get close on his own.
He's going to need the fire brigade's help.
This is so frustrating.
Mud is such a difficult environment for us to work in.
I just hope she's going to survive.
A few long minutes later, the fire crews arrive ready to join the rescue.
-This is Paul Moss.
-Hello, Paul. Nice to meet you, Paul.
Would I be right in saying the first priority would be water on the whale?
The first priority is to do an assessment and then to get first-aid measures in place.
So if we did those in parallel, we'd be strike one and two on our way. If we get all the equipment we need
to pump water from there, with a hose reel all the way out to there,
-we're going to need plenty of labour.
-OK with that?
We'll help wherever we can.
Every minute matters now. The beached bottlenose has been landlocked since dawn.
He's severely dehydrated.
You're looking at three to four hours so we don't have long.
The whale can breathe because it's a mammal, but its skin is drying out.
He needs water, and he needs it quickly.
Fire-fighters set up pumps from a nearby pond and, at last,
the team can begin the dangerous journey across the mud flats to hose down the whale.
The conditions are incredibly difficult, but they're determined to get there.
OK, let's get this going.
Finally, with the pumps working, the whale gets the water it desperately needs.
Stage one of the rescue is under way.
Oh, good, he is covering it, that's good. Well done, mate!
8am, three hours since the team found this beached whale,
and the second stage of the rescue operation has begun.
I only really want five British Divers people out here, no more than that.
But it's slow work. Digging a 25 foot whale out of the mud is going to take time.
Time that no-one has.
And now the tide's coming in, and conditions are worsening.
The ground's virtually impassable.
There's always one that gets stuck.
Fire-fighters create a safe path using special mud platforms.
But then, worryingly, things take a turn for the worse.
We are in a damn difficult situation here.
The trench the team have dug is filling with water.
We need to get this water away from here.
With the whale lying on its side, that water is starting to block the blowhole the whale uses to breathe.
Now tragically there's a real chance this seven tonne mammal could drown in just several inches of water.
-Get some of this water away.
-Is that for his blowhole?
The team use buckets and even their bare hands to help the whale in his battle to breathe.
-That's a bit better.
-Meanwhile, Trevor comes back to shore to wait for the vet.
The problem we've got is that we need to get the water that's around the animal away,
but at the same time we've got to keep the animal wet by putting water on it,
so it's a bit of a catch 22 situation.
Also, at the moment we really need to get a channel dug
so we stand a chance of getting the animal moving into deep water.
If we can't get it moved within two hours, the internal organs will be crushed to the point of no return.
That is our biggest problem at the moment.
By nine o'clock, a vet's on the scene.
Richard Edwards is filled in by an anxious Trevor.
-What's the situation?
-A 7.5 metre long northern bottlenose whale.
-We're extremely worried because she's in the process of drowning.
-She's on her side, the blowhole is going in and out of the water.
-Right. OK. Can you dig it out?
-We are trying to do that.
-I'm going to go out there now...
-I can't allow you to without a lifejacket on.
-There should be some lifejackets here though.
-I'll go and get my kit.
Rescuers are working tirelessly to save the whale but with time against them the outlook is bleak.
All chances of saving this majestic mammal are slowly slipping away.
It's a very difficult situation out there and I really don't know how this is going to turn out.
I really feel for this animal the moment.
Still to come, high tide and high danger. The epic struggle
to save a seven tonne whale.
-Get out of there now, before you're crushed.
Get out mate, now!
And will Sam realise why her back garden is a danger zone for her pets?
Think about walking around out there in your bare feet.
Can I walk around here in my bare feet and not get my feet cut?
This is Weirfield Wildlife Hospital on the outskirts of Lincoln, where they deal with all kinds of animals
from our countryside and they're very busy at this time of year.
So busy in fact that the boss here, Ali Townsend, wants me to go straight in and meet her.
You never know what's going to be behind the door.
Weirfield helps all sorts of baby animals back to the wild
and although they all need round-the-clock care,
it's the tiny ones that need that little bit extra.
And I'm here to help with the latest arrivals.
This lady's brought these baby house martins.
-Can you tell me a little bit about them?
They were nesting in the apex of my house.
This morning when I found them, the nest was all on the floor and the birds
were all scattered around on the floor.
So I thought I'd better ring the RSPCA and they advised me to come here.
-Right. So have they actually had anything to eat?
-Right. And they've been kept fairly warm?
Right, fine. Not a problem at all.
What would cause a nest to collapse like that?
Unfortunately house martin nests are made of mud
and if it gets very, very wet, they'll just turn to slush and drop down.
Or they get very, very dry and do exactly the same.
-So they haven't liked our wet summer very much?
-No, probably not.
-I've heard you mention feeding. Is that the priority of the treatment with these little birds?
Little and often and as much as we can get down them really.
They have to be away by the beginning of October, so they've got the energy to fly to Africa.
'These house martins are going to take up a lot of Ali's time and attention.
'The priority now is to leave them to settle in before attempting the difficult job of feeding them.
'In the meantime, there's another group of tiny orphans that need some help.'
They were quite young when they came in, not even got their eyes open.
So we're still actually topping them up for milk,
although this one is trying to eat on his own.
We've got a syringe with special milk in it. It's already warmed.
We've got a very, very fine end on the end of your syringe.
You're going to pick your mice up, or one of them.
Do you think it's to stop the others getting away?
Yes, but once they start, look...
Try and do it so he's downwards, so that you're not choking him.
If you've got him too far up, he might ingest the milk in to his lungs.
-How often do you have to do this?
-We're feeding these about every hour.
I just love his little hands gripping the end of the syringe.
It's something they learn quickly.
'With tummies no bigger than a garden pea,
'these tiny babies are quickly full up
'and more than ready to have a little sleep.'
Put these back in to the incubator.
'Next in the dinner queue are four hungry swallows.
'Ali's been caring for these birds for a whole month now and they've gone from strength to strength.'
As with the mice, feeding is the route to recovery?
Yes, little and often.
These birds will take as much as you can put in them every 15 minutes.
All right. Well, I'd better see how it works.
These are almost ready for release.
OK? So, these are mealworms.
-These obviously know that you're going to feed them.
-They look keen.
So, you're going to pick them up and you're just going to feed them.
While you're doing that, I'm going to get settled the new ones that have come in this morning.
Just open their mouth and down they go.
A bit like feeding my kids, I've got to share it all out fairly.
-OK, Tom. How are you doing?
-I think those are four pretty well stuffed birds.
Jolly good. Do you want to give me a hand over here?
'The swallows have clearly benefited from regular meals.
'So now it's time to get the house martins on the road to recovery.'
These are the four new arrivals that we took in earlier.
As you can see, compared to the ones that you've been feeding, these are a lot smaller.
It's still the same principle.
Just open the mouth very slightly.
You've just got to put your finger nail in the corner of their mouth.
-It's like opening an oyster.
-Yes. These will probably be fed every 15 minutes.
-Every 15 minutes.
That one's full, I would say.
-Do you want to be brave and have a go?
Yes, it does look quite tricky. I'll pick up a not too big one.
Do you think that's a bit big for him?
Just turn the mealworm so it goes down pointy end first.
I rather messed that one up trying to get the worm in.
It was like trying to eat corn on the cob sideways.
That's it. That's them all fed. At least for 15 minutes and they now need to go back in the incubator.
Every 15 minutes! Amazing, isn't it?
'As the newly-fed house martins are left to rest and build up their strength, Ali decides it's time
for a test flight to see if the older group of swallows are strong enough to be released.
First of all we will try them in the hospital to see if they fly.
So they just fly up and down here?
-If they do that happily...good to go?
-We can release them.
-Hmm, what do you make of that one?
-He's just practising.
'At first, it seems the swifts might not be ready fly Ali's nest just yet.
'Then there's no stopping them!'
Now they're both going. This one came down by the window over here.
Just send him back to give him a bit more.
They're certainly flying. Do they look fit enough?
I think they look fine. I think that went very well, actually.
-A little bit chaotic, but delivered nonetheless. Hello. Pretty...
-You have two and I'll have two.
'Ali's happy, so it's time to return the four swifts to the skies.'
-What's the knack here?
-We have to do it as fairly flat as you can.
Obviously not letting them go too soon.
-Literally throw them in the air.
-Both at once, d'you think?
-Do you want to do mine first?
-Yours first and then mine?
-OK. Let's fling them up.
-Then you can watch it.
-OK. Get yours to go as well.
-That looks good.
That's certainly a few weeks' work well done. Don't they look fit?
-Yes, very good.
-Kings of the sky.
-Up they go and away.
-But it's been incredible amount of work for you.
It is a lot of work and it is very difficult at times
to get them over that first initial shock, but when you get to release
four like today, I mean, that's what is all about.
That's why we do it and that's why we put as much effort into it.
And with Ali's round-the-clock care it hopefully won't be too long
before the mice and house martins are also on their way home.
Still to come, the whale breaks free,
but the rescue mission is far from over.
If it swims off of its own accord, we're then down to an exercise
to try and guide it back out again. But the problem we've got
is if it then strays again, we'll have no option but to put it down.
Now we're back to the story of Sandy, Sally and Titch,
the three dogs living in a garden that resembled a rubbish tip.
On RSPCA Inspector Edwina Davison's last visit, she found the dogs
were playing in an area filled with old furniture and, more worryingly, sharp tins and glass.
One of the dogs, Sally, was also recovering from a broken leg
and Edwina was concerned that it wasn't healing properly.
In Chaddesden, Derbyshire, it's time to find out if Sally, Sandy and Titch have a safer place to play.
Edwina Davison also asked for one of the dogs, Sally, to have her leg seen by a vet.
She's hoping all her advice hasn't been ignored.
Hey up, Sam. Are you all right?
-How are you doing?
-Fine thank you.
-Someone's been to the vet then.
-Come on then.
Come on then, in you come. Come on then. Come on then, sweeties.
So far, so good.
Edwina's pleased to see that Sally has had her leg examined.
And it seems there was a problem after all. The leg was infected
and the vet needed to replace the original metal plate.
It's a good job she went back and had it done really, isn't it?
Thanks to Edwina's help, Sally's on the mend and there are more changes afoot.
Sam's decided that three pets aren't enough
and has added a new addition to the family.
Right. Is it a little boy or girl?
Well, we think it's a boy. We've been told it's a boy, but he hasn't got his bits yet.
-Well, how old is he?
-Well, when we got him we got told he was 12 weeks.
Only about three months then. So, once he gets to six months it would be a good idea to have him neutered.
That's what we were planning and to have his injections.
Well, if you like I could give you a neutering voucher for him.
Things are going really well, but will the back garden be any tidier?
On first inspection, things look pretty good.
The bric-a-brac and old furniture has vanished.
But in fact conditions are worse than ever.
The garden is still littered with dangerous objects
and the number of hazardous tin cans has more than doubled.
-You got rid of the sofa.
We burnt that, we burnt everything...
So the garden furniture's gone.
Yes...the things I was most concerned about has kind of got worse really, hasn't it?
Which is the cans and the sharp staff.
-Oh, right. Yes.
-Yes? I mean, it's better, because they obviously, they like standing on this bit.
-And they're going to run around more up here, which is lovely. There's more space to run around.
We've started to cut it. All he's got to do is get some more strimming wire, that's all he's run out of.
Yes. To be honest, from the dogs' point of view, strimming it and cutting back bushes doesn't matter.
It's just getting rid of the cans and stuff.
Sam's got a lot more to worry about than an overgrown lawn.
The conditions these dogs are living in are simply not good enough.
With so many sharp objects, any of the pets could sustain a nasty injury.
-Well, it was clear, but it doesn't help with Lee's mates chucking the cans out of the window.
How much beer does he get through?
-Believe it or not, he doesn't drink it.
Edwina's keen to stick with Sam and give her a third and final chance.
I think we're going to need a little bit of another timescale for clearing this lot up.
-Yes? What about the week after next?
-Yes. That's fine.
-We've got his mates coming round, so...
-Well, there you go then.
-Lee's got a bit of a hand.
Hopefully with the help of her friends the garden will improve.
Edwina spells out what she expects to see.
-Think about it. If you were out there and you're walking around in your bare feet...
-Yes? Right. Because that's what they're doing, isn't it, really?
-So if you just think, "Can I walk around here in my bare feet and not get my feet cut?" Yes?
And I'll come back in a couple of weeks and you're going to be able to walk out there with no shoes on.
Although there's still some way to go, Edwina's happy that Sam is at least trying to make things better.
'I'd really like to think that there will be a change in two weeks and I remain optimistic.
'However if not, it's something that I'll just have to keep coming back to. So until that time
'I think it's just going to require a lot of patience and a lot of time, unfortunately.'
But Edwina can't wait forever.
If things don't improve, she may decide this garden
is just too dangerous for Sandy, Sally and Titch to play in.
-You're barmy, aren't you?
Is it a life behind bars for Jodie the hound?
In all honesty, is she in there sometimes because she is very, very lively? Because she is like this?
No, no she's not in there because she's lively.
Back in West Sussex, the rescue team are battling
to save a northern bottlenose whale thousands of miles from home and stranded in mud flats.
Blood samples hold the key to knowing whether the whale beached on purpose, or because he was ill,
or whether he simply got lost.
Now the vet's arrived to find out.
10.30am, and things are looking bleak.
If the team don't save the whale soon, his organs will be damaged forever.
We've probably got about an hour to an hour-and-a-half left before we hit our large-animal limit.
-And then it's basically beyond repair.
Time to step up the rescue plans.
Trevor wants to put inflatable stretchers, called pontoons,
beneath the bottlenose to get him floating again as the tide comes in around him.
Well, the water's coming in pretty quickly now, so we've just sent the rescue pontoons out there.
But this is pretty difficult.
It's a very dangerous environment they're working out there.
If the fire brigade pull us out, we're going to have to come out.
But that water's coming in very rapidly.
But I'm hoping that because the animal is in soft mud and is relatively stable,
that we might be able to get this one turned round.
But it's still a very difficult call at the moment.
The whale's been covered in a special sheet to prevent
his skin drying out, and vet Richard Edwards begins taking blood samples.
These will be rushed to a lab for tests that will tell
the team whether this whale beached itself because of an illness.
With the samples taken, the team get the pontoon into position.
Can we get three straps underneath?
-Go for it.
Do it, please. Yes, now. We'll start getting that involved now.
-We'll need at least three straps, possibly four.
Back onshore, the news of this potential tragedy is spreading fast.
The media pack have come to Chichester, eager to catch a glimpse of the stricken whale.
The experts out there don't know why it is 3,000 miles away from where it should be.
They don't know whether there are any underlying medical problems.
Along with the locals, they've nicknamed the bottlenose Billy.
They're all willing him to survive.
Trevor's next job is to let them know how it's going.
The vet has just taken some blood samples, which are going off to a laboratory for testing.
They're on their way now.
We won't refloat the animal unless we've got those blood results back.
Do you just have the one chance at high tide?
Yes, we really only have one chance of getting the animal back and floated in water.
If this animal strands again, it will not be able to cope with stranding twice.
-Thank you for the update.
-Lovely. Hopefully, we'll know more in an hour's time.
-Thank you, Trevor.
Trevor makes his way back out to Billy.
But with the tide coming in fast, conditions are getting even worse. He takes the difficult decision
to tell many of the rescuers that they have to head back to the safety of the shore.
British Divers people,
if you've not been told to stay,
can you please make your way back to shore?
As the remaining crew continue the fight, the others head back
to dry land, exhausted from their three hour battle in the mud.
Really, really difficult to deal with, yeah.
You can't really move around much at all.
You can't even step off the pontoons at the moment
so it's really, really tough work.
It's not just tough, it's also dangerous. But while the water
may be making things difficult for people, it could be a bonus for Billy.
With the water coming in, it may well refloat itself.
But what happens then I don't know.
If it swims off of its own accord, we're then down to an exercise of trying to guide it back out again.
But the problem we've got, if it then strands again we'll have no option but to put it down.
The deeper the water gets, the more treacherous this rescue
is becoming for the small crew left by the giant mammal's side.
Then, as Billy begins to move, one of the team finds his own life in danger.
OK, you in the front, get out of there now, before you're crushed.
Get out, mate, now!
-I'm all right.
-You're not. Get out.
Safety has to come first.
It's no longer sensible to be this close to Billy.
The teams have to take to their boats.
At 11.30, Billy's finally free from the mud.
But will he want to head out to sea?
Even in the shallow water,
Billy finds the strength to break clear of the pontoon
and, at last, he enjoys his first taste of freedom,
giving the media the shots they've been waiting for.
TV crews beam the pictures of free Billy to a relieved audience.
The whale broke free from the pontoon
and for the last five minutes has been just floating here,
swimming round in circles.
But the drama is far from over, as he makes a beeline for the shore,
trying to beach himself again.
One of the team bravely heads him off and tries to coax him back out towards deeper water.
It's just a waiting game now to see if, hopefully, with the tide, as the tide goes out,
the whale will follow the tide back out into the main channel.
More canoes join the desperate attempt to get Billy going in the right direction.
But the way he's behaving suggests something's badly wrong,
and it's not long until everyone's worst fears are confirmed.
Billy's blood results are back.
The blood results are very definitive.
They show is that the animal has kidney failure,
which means that the kidneys are not functioning properly.
There's also some muscle damage.
What it tells us is that rescuing this whale is not feasible now,
and all we can do is to humanely euthanise the animal at the earliest opportunity. That's what we'll do.
OK? Thank you. We will give you another statement when we can.
It's now clear that Billy beached himself on purpose because he was too ill to be at sea.
It's a bitter blow for Trevor and his team after their heroic six hour rescue attempt.
It's not a case of the kidneys are failing, they HAVE failed,
which is a big problem here, which unfortunately means there is just no turning back.
So this poor thing is going to have to be put to sleep, which...
We don't like it, but it's the kindest thing for the animal.
And sure enough, Billy beached again four hours later.
The vets finally put an end to his misery.
Now, earlier in the programme, we met three dogs whose cluttered playground was putting them at risk.
On two separate visits, RSPCA inspector Edwina Davidson told the owners to clear the dangerous junk.
Now Edwina's on her way to see if they've finally listened to her advice.
But first she has to visit a dog who, according to the complaint,
hasn't got any space to play in at all.
It's a wet and grey morning in Chaddesden,
and there's a complaint about a big dog living in a cramped space.
Edwina Davidson has been told that the dog is being kept in a birdcage.
But that's not all. The report also said it's a large German shepherd.
Oh, hi. I'm from the RSPCA. I had a call about a dog.
I had a concern about him being kept in a cage, in a small cage.
Yeah, he's in the cage, but he only goes in there because when I walk him
and come back. I mean, look at today.
-It's not very nice, is it? Yeah.
-And if it's wet,
-she's just put in there.
-But other than that, I've been out at half six this morning...
..and only just got back with her.
-What sort of dog is she?
-She's a sausage cross German shepherd.
Oh, right! I'm even more intrigued now to have a look.
-She won't grow any.
-Like a dachshund type cross German shepherd?
-Jodie is her name.
I'm very curious to see her now.
With such an odd combination, Edwina's intrigued.
She's as seen to see what Jodie looks like as she is to see the cage.
Hello! Hello! Oh, there we are.
Well, that's not a birdcage, is it?
Hello, my darling! Aren't you cute?
And this is what a German shepherd crossed with a sausage dog looks like.
How long in the day would you say she's in here?
Two, maybe three hours.
-While I'm in, she's out.
-Right. So while you're in, she's out. OK. So why is she in here at the moment?
-Like I say, just come in, and she was wet.
It's definitely too small for her to be in there for very long.
-Two hours maximum.
-She's never in it.
-The only time I put her in is when she's wet.
Right. Obviously I've come round now and she's dry, so...
-Yeah, but her feet were wet.
You're beautiful, aren't you, baby?
Jodie's just nine months old, and as she's let out, it's clear she's full of life.
Edwina's concerned she's put in the cage because Josephine can't cope.
In all honesty, is she in there sometimes because she is very, very lively, because she is like this?
No, she's not in there because she's lively.
You're barmy, aren't you?
-I'll show you where she plays.
-Let's have a look and see what she's got outside.
Oh, right. Brilliant. OK.
Josephine says that Jodie gets plenty of exercise
and is keen to show off the space she has to play in.
My only concern is if she's in there for any length of time.
-Like I say, it's too small for her to be in there for very long.
I can only take your word for it, OK?
I swear on my life I look after her.
Edwina's satisfied that Jodie is only put in the cage to stop her running around the house
when she's wet and she has a solution that will suit both owner and pet.
If you want a bit of peace and quiet for a bit, rather than just shutting her in there,
you can leave that open, you can just shut her in here,
-and she can get to her water and her food bowl and she won't knock them over.
-Do you think that would be a better idea?
-Oh, yes, definitely.
Jodie is happy, well cared for and certainly loving.
Josephine thinks the world of her, and it's a job well done for Edwina.
Edwina's message may have got through to Josephine, but some jobs take a little more persistence.
A few streets away, Edwina's back to see if Sally, Sandy and Titch have a safer playground.
-Hiya, Sam. You all right?
Come to see how the gardening's going.
-Have you got bacon sarnies on the go? Right...
-How have you got on?
Let's have a look.
Oh, that's better.
Edwina's firm but friendly approach has finally paid off.
How long did it take you?
-About two hours.
-OK. That's not bad. That's much better. Brilliant stuff.
-I got it all done in one day.
-That's great. Yeah?
Bet you feel better for it. Yeah?
I do. I can move round in my garden now.
It's hard to believe that just a few months ago this area resembled a rubbish tip.
It may not be in line for Britain In Bloom, but there's certainly
a great improvement.
Well done. Brilliant. Just keep on top of it, every day getting rid of anything that can hurt them.
Finally, Sally, Sandy and Titch have a safe space to play,
and Edwina leaves happy that Sam has finally taken on her advice.
You can always give me a call if there's any problems.
-Right, well, stay dry.
-Right, OK, then.
-All right, then.
-All right, then. Cheers, Sam.
Well, I'm glad to see they've cleared up the garden at last.
It's taken quite a few visits, but it's looking much, much better.
There's less opportunity for the animals to injure themselves because they run around the garden like mad.
So that's great. And if they need any assistance in the future
they can give me a call. I'm pleased. Another job done.
If you think you know of a case of wildlife crime or a creature that needs immediate attention,
remember there are dedicated professionals out there who will answer your call around the clock.
They are the people we meet on Animal 24:7.
anger management for Snowy the temperamental terrier...
That saying, "A bark is worse than a bite" but I'm not prepared to shove my hand in and find out.
..a cliff-hanger rescue for a mountain goat...
He doesn't seem to be able to get off that ledge, so we've got to do something about it today.
..and I help build a badger set with a difference.
They'll be under surveillance.
Like the Big Brother house, this place is rigged with cameras.
Hello! Can you see me there?
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Series following people who protect and work closely with wildlife and domestic animals.
The race is on at Chichester harbour to try to save a beached whale. The RSPCA try to encourage one dog owner to clean up their act, and presenter Tom Heap needs the gentle touch to feed a group of baby mice.